free appropriate public education

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Free appropriate public education (FAPE) is a requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which guarantees special education rights for children with disabilities. According to Understood, disabilities can include both learning and thinking differences. To see if a child qualifies for special education services, schools must determine if they have a “covered” disability under the Act and if that disability is severe enough for special education services. 

Once a child is qualified, FAPE requires a school to provide special education for the child’s specific needs, related services (e.g. transportation), accommodations (e.g. audiobooks), an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and teach the child in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]